Members of the Romanian Academy, high-ranking officials of Romania, diplomats as well as people of culture have convened on Monday at the Romanian Academy in a solemn session to celebrate the December 1, 1918 Greater Union and remember the country’s participation in WWI.
The solemn session opened with Romanian Academy Chairman Ionel-Valentin Vlad (photo) delivering the opening speech and a readout of a message from Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis.
Also delivering speeches were crown Princess Margareta and Patriarch Daniel of the Romanian Christian Orthodox Church.
Talking about Romania’s entry into World War I and the role the war played in the history of the unification of the Romanian provinces were Chairman of the Romanian Academy’s Department of Historic Sciences and Archaeology Dan Berindei; Petre Otu of the Institute for Political Studies of Military Defence and History; President of the 1 Decembrie 1918 University of Alba Iulia Daniel Breaz; Chairman of the ASTRA Sibiu Association Dumitru Acu, as well as Ioan Lacatusu of the Civic Forum of Covasna’s Romanians.
Ionel-Valentin Vlad: Romanian Academy was the cultural depositary of the ancient longing for the union of all the Romanians
“Romanian Academy was, both by its composition and its objectives, the cultural depositary of the unquenchable ancient longing for the union of all the Romanians”, stated the President of this forum, Ionel-Valentin Vlad, on Monday, on the occasion of the solemn homage session dedicated to the celebration of the Greater Union of 1918 and to evoking our country’s participation to the WW I.
“Both by composition and by the conducted activity over the years related to the great moments of the Romanians’ fight for national unity, Romanian Academy has proved that it personifies the culture and the ideal of the entire Romanian nation before and beyond the borders”, stated Ionel-Valentin Vlad.
Speaking about celebrating 100 years since Romania have entered into the WWI, he pointed out that this event has found “a profound echo” among the members of the Romanian Academy, many of them making donations for the Romanian Army’s soldiers, or making the ultimate sacrifice on the battlefield.
Ionel-Valentin Vlad spoke about the personalities who have been “on the front of the national reunification” – King Ferdinand and Queen Maria, Generals Alexandru Averescu, Grigore Crainiceanu and Constantin Prezan, politicians Ion I. C. Bratianu and Vintila Bratianu, teachers or researchers mobilized as officers or enlisted as volunteers fighting in the campaigns of 1916 and 1917 on the battlefields in Transylvania and Dobrogea.
He also mentioned some of the members of the Romanian Academy who have brought their contribution to the achievement of the great ideal of the Union: Onisifor Ghibu, Pantelimon Halipa, Ion Minculet, Nicodim Munteanu, Axente Banciu, Stefan Ciobanu, Paul Gore, Ion Nistor, Iuliu Maniu, Vasile Goldis, Iuliu Hossu, Miron Cristea, Valeriu Braniste, Silviu Dragomir, Alexandru Borza, Lucian Blaga.
“WW I was a fundamental moment for the modern and contemporary Romania. The loyalty of the Romanians gathering around the Crown was the foundation of the political and diplomatic fight of the statesmen for the recognition of the Union and the strengthening of our country in Europe”, stated Princess Margareta, the Crown custodian.
She added that the truth must be brought to light on the role of the Royal Army, of the civil society, of the statesmen and of the Crown in making the Greater Union.
“One century after the WW I, the Royal Family joins the state institutions who wish to reestablish the respect and the self-confidence of Romania. Let us reach the moral level of our ancestors! So help us God”, said the Princess.
Emphasizing the importance of the celebration and the contribution of the Romanian Orthodox Church ministers to the victory in the WWI and to the achievement of the ideal of the Greater Union of 1918, Patriarch Daniel made a call to the union in order to overcome difficulties.
“Therefore, in the union we find the power and the dignity, the blessing and the joy of a nation. But division is killing and humiliating for a nation, because it weakens and degrades its life. United in thought and feeling, we can overcome life’s difficulties and challenges. The union strengthens and elevates a nation”, stated the Primate of BOR.
The high bishop urged people to follow the example of the Greater Union’s coryphaei, “whom we always admire for their unity in action and for their achievements that followed after December 1, 1918”.
“The Church, by word and action, cultivates the holy gift of national unity and dignity, because the real freedom doesn’t exist in division, or in the selfish indifference, it exists in the state of communion and cooperation for committing the common good. (…) Today, all the Romanian citizens, all the state institutions and all the religious denominations have the duty to keep and cultivate the gift of the national unity as a symbol of the dignity of the Romanian nation, which is used to many human sacrifices and spiritual and material efforts to the good of Romania and to the joy of the Romanians from everywhere”, Patriarch Daniel added.
President Iohannis: Anniversaries of historic milestones urge us to reflect on each generation’s contributions to development
Anniversaries of historic milestones and achievements urge us to reflect on the contributions of each generation to the development of our society, President Klaus Iohannis said in a message read out at a solemn session of the Romanian Academy on Monday that remembered the December 1, 1918 Greater Union and the beginning of WWI.
“Anniversaries of historic milestones and achievements urge us to reflect on the contributions of each generation to the development of our society. The lessons of the past, tragic or heroic as they may be, must be understood and responsibility must be taken for them, reflected in the vision and values in which we bring up and educate our children. Because, as it is easy to see, each generation should recommit and defend the European values to which we have adhered as a country. They can be endangered by hatred and intolerance, and it is the duty of political and cultural elites to offer each generation bridges to knowledge, dialogue and solidarity across the ditches of ignorance, demagoguery and populism,” Iohannis said in his message delivered by his adviser Sergiu Nistor.
The destiny of an entire nation will come to fruition only if it is underpinned by the vision and responsibility of the political class, as well as by dedication, sometimes to sacrifice of entire generations, reads the presidential message, adding that “On December 1 we honour the WWI heroes and all those who achieved the Greater Union, who paved the way for modern Romania, a country built by and for equal citizens, irrespective of their ethnic backgrounds, mother tongue or religious affiliation.”
Iohannis says “entering WWI on the side on the Entente was more than just an opportunity for national reintegration, as it also was a decided step toward embracing political values and a Western destiny.”
“With all the vicissitudes and a whole half century of totalitarianisms, the significance of the 1918 moment has not been lost. Despite efforts to marginalise or hijacking it for ideological purposes, the memory of the Greater Union has nurtured our hopes for a democratic, European destiny that are to be found in the construction of a pluralistic democracy after the December 1989 Revolution. The Greater Union proved to be the achievement of the historic vocation of all of Romania’s provinces and that it is also our fundamental identity beacon. It was, is and will be inspiration for all those who understand that no effort is too big when we design policies for the common good.”
Speaking about the contribution of Romania to the world security architecture, Iohannis said in his message that one century afterwards we have to give the nation the projects Romania deserves to get.
“Same as we are now ascribing inter-war social, economic and cultural development to unleashed energies strengthened by the events of the year 1918, I think it is befitting us, one century after, to set to give our nation, through the commitments of a responsible political class, the projects Romania, the visionary and sacrificial work of the Greater Union’s generation deserve to get,” Iohannis said in his message read out at the solemn session of the Romanian Academy on Monday.